Andrew Wilson

peter donegan, andrew wilson

I have very few if any heroes in horticulture. Maybe that there didn’t exist many when I first grew seeds way back in 1981. Maybe growing up we very simply weren’t a family that did a whole lot of sitting still, Mom 😉 And that act would by default have included being seated in front of the tele visual.

When I got to an age when I could afford to buy books, that were not second hand and pre 1960’s brimmed with illustrations, as versus images, one of the first that I treated myself to was a book by Andrew Wilson. I was not aware of Andrew at the time and though there is no specific reason why I purchased the book, I can tell you that in 2004, it cost me €36.75.

In 2007 Andrew judged my Silver medal garden and in Bloom 2008 he was there again. Some Peter growing up, baby changes and almost four years later, today, fresh from The Chelsea Flower show where he was a judge for The RHS in one catgeory and in another where his garden design won Silver-Gilt and now judging at Bloom 2013, we got to meet again.

Garden merits and acclaims aside Andrew is an absolute gentleman and this Friday on The Sodshow we sit down to talk in part 1 of a 2 part show.

And if you’re maybe wondering why my head hair is a bit Olly Murs overly quiffed messed up, I had literally just crawled out of a hedge 30 minutes previous 😉 Back to gardens; I’ll return to landscaping here on the blog tomorrow, or the next day. I’ll see how dirty or clean my hands are.

The next big Q is when or if I’ll make a return to show gardening and/ or Bloom 2014. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m gonna go for a cuppa. I’ve got a garden to finish with a tomorrow deadline and a jeep to remove much foliage from.

medal winner bloom

Bloom 2012

I honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it to Bloom this year. Eventually, I did with my 2 year old bundle of smiles early on Sunday. Rain aside, so impressed I returned again on the Monday.

It’s a little funny being me most of the time, but at Bloom it gets a little funnier. In context, on the Sunday I entered the artisan food arena, left 3 hours later and not by choice, nor wish to leave, I saw nothing else.

Interview 1: Natasha of Natasha’s Living Foods

Interview 2: Birgitta of Burren Salmon

Interview 3: Mark Wheeler of Rathmullen House

When on the Monday I returned again, I simply kept on bumping into people. Good people. People I was happy to be in the company of. Some of them I hadn’t seen since that time last year and before I knew it, the tannoy system announced Bloom is closing.

In the big picture, Bloom is far more than just show gardens. My experience this year was simply fantabulous. For the most part, that came down to the organisation. Before, during and after. I would have quite happily stayed longer.

To note: My reference above is [solely] to just how on the ball the entire team was. Irish horticulture needs Irish horticulture to be popular. I hope it gets better with age. Or some random positive cliché to that effect.

Recorded chats here aside, I have two cracking interviews lined up for The Sodshow that will air this Friday coming and the following. Also of note is The SodShow, Bloom in the Park special with Gary Graham that aired the Friday prior to its opening.

In conversation with some of my fellow horticulturists I noted and know that Bloom is good for Irish horticulture. It needs and is better because of it.

Regarding Bloom 2013, as I noted recently, I have a mild pickle to chew on 😉

This image below as I left Bloom 2012 behind me, sits in my mind, for all of the so many right reasons. In whatever format I am there, I am looking forward to Bloom 2013.

To all who were ever so lovely, thank you so much.

The SodShow. A Bloom In The Park 2012 Special

The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, all good podcast stores.

Dublin’s Only Garden Radio Show. The SodShow – with Peter Donegan & Brian Greene – Every Friday @ 3pm.

On This Weeks Garden Radio:

the sodshow and greensax bloom in the park 2012

….we meet with Gary Graham the brains behind Ireland’s premier garden show, Bloom In The Park. With a little under a week to go and set to take take place in The Phoenix Park this June Bank Holiday weekend May 31st – 4th June 2012, we get an insight into the behind the scenes of show garden building, just what you can expect to see and Gary’s advice on the best way to see this years garden festival. All this and so much more on Dublin’s only garden radio show.

The SodShow is brought to you by GreenSax, The compostable bags for home and garden.

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brian greene and gary graham garden radio ireland

Bloom In the Park. A Show Garden Return ?

donegan gardens

Talking today with Gary Graham for The SodShow, the garden radio show, conversation naturally led to show gardens and the question as to the ‘would I make a return to show gardening’ ? Gary is, in short for those who are not aware, the brains behind Bloom in the Park. Ireland’s premier garden show.

Personally, I’ve a lot of time for Gary. I’ve a lot of time for Bloom. Like it or not, Bloom is good for Ireland; it’s also great for Irish gardening and in that context alone, Bord Bia have done a real sterling job. One which deserves ovation standing, as versus applause.

We nattered back and forth and chatted ourselves into the easily led to conclusion that I missed, sincerely, the controlled pressure that came with the creation of show gardens.

mary mcaleese

For those who aren’t aware, I’ve done two Bloom show gardens:

After 2008, I took a pause. I was busy. I needed to be. I had showy gardens to create, but they simply weren’t gardens that were awarded medals at the end of it, though they did come with good PR.

The reality is show gardeners, to qualify a show garden submission need three strings to their bow. A proven ability to build show gardens, a great design and last, but by no means least, a sponsor. For two years running, I was missing the latter.

donegan gardens, bloom

Would I make a return to Bloom for 2013 ?

Yes, I would. Were this post going live now has relevance is that the work would be much easier less complex if it were to start within the next six weeks. So soon you might believe, but design submission begins around September/ October and whilst I have already the concepts, I like my designs QED ~ ie. without question, on time, fitting its budget [yours or/ and mine], show timing complete before schedule and with all of the ingredients in place ~ pre planned.

Don’t get me wrong, I can create a fine garden within a very short space of time, designs, submitted and accepted. No problem. But if show garden is to be about the, as Gary put it, the showmanship, then a little more homework/ light reading is far better.

As a by the way, The SodShow, A Bloom in The Park 2012 special, an interview with Gary Graham will air this Friday at 3pm and will be available a little later in the evening as podcast.

If I’m to do it and do it rightly and though I’ve always been blessed in that department I’m proud to admit, I’ll need the right people by my side. For now, I guess, I’ve a little thinking to do and for this bank holiday weekend I’ll happily settle for making daisy chains with my daughter, most probably in The Phoenix Park.

Thoughts on the matter/ Fancy a cuppa ? 😉

donegan gardens

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The Sodshow Garden Podcast – every Friday – in iTunes, all good podcast stores.


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With thanks to this weeks guests:

  • Ann Lynch of The Hedgerow Society who will host this weekends Garden Group adventure

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